Heat­ing sys­tem dan­ger ex­posed

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JAY BOREHAM

Faulty heat trans­fer sys­tems have set fire to dozens of New Zealand homes and the re­call mes­sage is not get­ting through, the New Zealand Fire Ser­vice says.

The Weiss heat trans­fer sys­tems, sold prior to May 2012, were re­called last month af­ter the Fire Ser­vice no­ticed the trend.

‘‘There haven’t been any in­juries to date which we con­sider to be quite for­tu­nate but I think it’s just a mat­ter of time to be hon­est,’’ fire risk man­ager Ian Dun­can says.

Reg­u­la­tory body En­ergy Safety also is­sued a pro­hi­bi­tion no­tice ban­ning the use of the Weiss ap­pli­ances, which op­er­ate in ceil­ing spa­ces and move warm air through ducts to heat rooms.

But the Fire Ser­vice is still be­ing called to fires caused by the sys­tems and has found vic­tims have no idea about the re­call.

There have been 24 fires across the coun­try, in­clud­ing two on the North Shore.

Some of the vic­tims had been lucky to de­tect the fires early be­cause smoke alarms aren’t as ef­fec­tive at de­tect­ing ceil­ing fires, na­tional man­ager of fire in­ves­ti­ga­tion and ar­son re­duc­tion Peter Wild­ing says.

‘‘If you have a smoke de­tec­tor on your house, it is on the ceil­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘But it is un­der­neath, on the wrong side, so you don’t know what is hap­pen­ing in the ceil­ing.

‘‘So we have had a num­ber of fires where there has been rea­son­ably sig­nif­i­cant in­volve­ment up in the roof space before they have known about it down be­low.’’

The af­fected Weiss Heat Trans­fer Unit mod­els are FV602, FV603, FV652, and FV653. They were sold at Mitre 10 stores and other re­tail­ers before May 2012.

Un­de­tected: Fire in­ves­ti­ga­tion and ar­son re­duc­tion man­ager Peter Wild­ing says smoke alarms strug­gle to de­tect ceil­ing fires.

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